14 Kasım 2014 Cuma

Byzantine Cistern Saved From Obscurity

turkce links to original Turkish article

(Hurriyet Newspaper, 14 November 2014)

"Concrete Head" characterizes the firm that tried to keep a 
Byzantine cistern hidden so its work could continue.

The partner firms Isildak Construction and Mak.Is Construction won
the contract to refurbish the Darulfunun Underpass from Beyazit that
the Istanbul Municipality began in August. The project was approved
by the 4th Conservation Council and work was started.

A sub-contractor, Vizyon Construction, found the covers of two
sarcophagi in the same area but the covers, which appear to be from
the pre-Christian period, were heavily damaged by construction
equipment. They were transported to the Archeology Museum but
it turns out that the Museum had not been made aware of the work
in the area.

Work resumed at the site and the day before yesterday a citizen
informed the Museum that there was a Byzantine cistern hundreds
of meters long at the work site but the construction firm was trying
to close off the entrance to the cistern. In fact, concrete poured by
the firm had already closed a portion of the entrance.

The Museum sent two archeologists to the site to inspect the cistern.
As a consequence, the work has been stopped until the 4th Cultural
Treasures Protection Council makes a ruling on the construction
work.   Museum officials noted that the municipality had provided
no information on the work. Thanks to an 'alert citizen', however,
the issue had come to light.

A Museum official stated that "we know that this was the largest
avenue  of Byzantium, starting at Aya Sofia and extending to
Eminonu and Topkapi in two separate branches. The Theodosius
forum, made up of Byzantine-era stores, was located in the region.
Whether the ruins at Beyazit were a store from the forum or a
cistern will be determined after investigations."

                         Beyazit, Istanbul

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